Sunday, August 30, 2009

Where is My Obscene Phone Call?

I have had a phone a long time, almost as long as I can remember. I even have a cell phone. But I’ve never gotten one. I’m in the phone book. I know there are a lot of perverts. There are a lot of perverts. Perverts everywhere. I see them everyday. All of them have phones. I’m in the phone book. I’m even on the bathroom wall. Unless someone erased it. But then again, I wrote it tiny. What the hell? I even give perverts my phone number. I say to them, “give me a call sometime, pervert.” Nothing.

I want an obscene phone call. An obscene phone call is like coming home to find some naked stranger sitting in your kitchen chair, naked and dirty. Then you realize you want them to leave, because they’re nakedier and dirtier than you thought they would be and so you try and chase them with broom, but they just sit there as obdurate as a garden rock that won’t scare. So you leave for a while, because, what the hell? You end up sitting alone in car dealership because you’ve got no place to go and there’s a naked stranger in your home. Later, everything is closed and you drank coffee, even though you’re not supposed to because you’re in a coffee shop and what the hell? And so you go home like you’re going to the crypt of Dracula, even though Dracula wore clothes and you at least knew what name Dracula went by: Dracula. And god you hope the lights work and you try and think of what to say as you go up the stair, but don’t come up with anything and when you unlock the door and peer in the kitchen no one is there and what the hell? And you hope that they’ll call you, but they never do.

I want my obscene phone call. At first, I’ll be shocked. A lot of the language will be wrong. Some ideas will be expressed in poor choice of words. Things will be phrased in a way I find, derogatory or misleading. But the whole thing is going to come pouring into my ears and my ears will turn red and hot against the receiver. There will be a lot of suggestions. These suggestions will be impractical, but I won’t be able to help listening to them. The whole thing will be vaguely insulting, and at some point I’ll hang up. But then I’ll stay there looking at the phone and thinking: what the hell?

It won’t really be sexually arousing, but it will change what I wear for the next week.

Sometimes I even call my friends, people I know and tell them, “I’ve just received the most obscene vulgar phone call.” My friends and people I know are usually quite shocked and full of advice and admonitions on how to handle this situation, to call the police, the phone company, get caller ID, have a man answer the phone, etc. After awhile, however, they become less interested and more skeptical, and I don’t blame them because some of them eventually ask me to describe what they said and I can’t think of anything, because I’ve never had one. I just say it was really, really shocking. You should have heard it. Where did they get your number? They ask. Probably from the bathroom wall, I tell them. You mean in your house? They ask. What the hell?

I’m tired of waiting. If I could call myself on the phone I would. I’d call at an odd time, like just after I’d started brushing my teeth or had one shoe on. I wouldn’t say anything. I’d hold the phone like a spider and wait for me to say something: “Hello?”

Then I’d start. I’d talk about all the things I knew about me. I’d say I could see me from where I was calling. I’d tell me I was holding a broken garden rake in my hand and a busted up candle. Then I’d make up a really upsetting story about what I was going to do with those things. Then I’d talk about other things, things I had seen the paper. Yeah. I’d use language from the movies. I’d call myself “baby.” “Baby, do you like that?” I’d ask. “Like what?” I’d ask. “Ah, you know,” I’d say, “you know what I’m talking about.” “No,” I’d say, ”what are you talking about, exactly?” “Yeah,” I’d say, “you like it, all right.” Then I would puff on some kind of cigar or cigarette or possibly a corn-cob pipe. I would blow smoke rings at the phone until my listening eyes watered. Then I would wink at the phone. I’d wink at the phone so hard I could hear it. Then I’d whoop like an Indian, a mad Indian with busted rake a cranberry candle from Thanksgiving. I’d make spooky Halloween noises. I’d say something really disturbing, and then there would be the sound of thunder, the squeaking of rats.

By the time the police came I’d be long gone. I’d laugh and turn up the collar on my filthy coat, slide down the banister, knowing I was mine. I could call me anytime. I had the number in my pocket.

Letting a Hundred Flowers Blossom

We here at Naak Leuuap นาค เหลือบ are humbled and gratified by your company and always delighted to receive your comments and email, particularly as the tropical days are long and wet at the leprosarium and sometimes hard to sleep through. Unfortunately, as some good readers have pointed out, the commenting button on this blog, despite having a smart appearance, has no actual function and does not allow inspired readers to actually comment.

Valuing your responses and company as much as I do, I regret this deeply. I believe the problem stems from a defect in the HTML "code" original to the old gypsy woman a stole it from (if you are familiar with the disreputable trade of such caravans carrying "free templates", then you know the orignal is likely stolen, too). How I laughed and laughed as I burned her wagon. Though her vengence is nigh upon me, how, may I ask, can one live without laughter?

In any case, in an attempt to remedy the situation, we will be happy to publish any responses to the features here the old fashioned way, that is, pretentiously, as letters to the editor.

Sneks, Nourriture and Nuture

Dear Sir,

After experiencing the quality of your earlier products, I must commend you on your consistency: naak leuuap (if that really is a thing) is of exactly the same quality. For instance, I was moved to write a comment to your piece, "Subscription to Evil."
However, after several half-hearted attempts, I could not get the "post comment" link to function. Perhaps Naak Leuuap does not prefer the Safari browser application. Perhaps the "post comment" link is purely decoration; perhaps you don't wish to read comments at all. Whichever, below find what I would have attempted to publish on your Leuuap.

Disclaimer: I am CCing Morgan D, another former young herpetologist and current young father. Perhaps he can amplify my points.

As a boy, I, like other youngsters, was encouraged to form an interest in animals for the purpose of writing "research reports," constructing dioramas, and otherwise learning how to produce educational-work products. I remember a particularly fine work on cougars, titled, "Cougars" from the 2nd grade. However, cougars and volcanos were not my main line of inquiry. Snakes were. Not Snake Plisskin, but real snakes. Herpetology. This interest persisted. Sometime in the 6th grade, after several years of pleading and numerous trips to local "exotic" pet stores, I was purchased a snake as a birthday present: an albino corn snake (a fertile hybrid of a corn snake and an albino king snake). I dutifully cared for the snake. I created a terrarium, including a paper mache cave structure for the animal, named Snek. Snek's cage temperature was regulated by the use of an incandescent light bulb and an electric heated rock. As a young corn snake, Snek's diet consisted of infant mice, blind and helpless, which are referred to as pinkies. For convenience, and because Snek was willing to consume non-live prey, at times I would purchase as many as a dozen pinkies and freeze them. I used the family microwave to warm them up to live temperature prior to feedings. A dozen pinkies would last several months when Snek was small. My younger sister even decorated a plastic container with hobby paints for Snek's food, so as to lessen the likelihood of human-snake food confusion. As Snek grew, so did his prey requirements. Eventually large mice and even small rats were indicated. These were usually offered live, though a kind pet store employee generously demonstrated a rat euthanasia technique for Morgan and me: swing the rat the by the tail with some force so that its head would bang against a counter edge. Snek lived in my bedroom for many years, growing large and wise, shedding many skins, and only occasionally causing excitement by escaping or regurgitating a rodent. While I did not subscribe to Snake World! Magazine nor any other herpetological publication (my paper route funds, especially in the darker, earlier years, were quite stretched to provide for Snek's pinkies), I cannot help but worry you misunderstand snake hobbyists. Snake ownership can be a powerful signaling apparatus for adolescent and pre-adolescent boys: you love animals, but you have an edge, a dark side. More importantly, snake ownership prepares young men for fatherhood. Who can help but be reminded of microwaving frozen pinkies when he is warming his tot's earliest meals at the stove? Who can wipe feces from his child without thinking of cleaning the terrarium? Who can change countless diapers without wondering what it would be like if human urine crystalized the way reptile urine does? We, and countless others like us, learned to nurture through snakes, and without reading Snake World! Magazine, I'm sure this is the mission its editors and contributors aim for.


P.S. Snek was eventually given to a professional herpetologist, and Snek may still be fighting fascism somewhere in our great land.

After Snek

So thoroughly moved was I by Stephen and Morgan D's (if there really is such a thing) response, that I took off at once to the leprosarium's modest library to consult again with the periodical in question. In addition to the relevant medical volumes and a surprising amount of military history and butterfly collection whose principals have all fallen off their pins to a colorful dusting below, library's primary function is simply a repository of printed material other patients have left behind and hence describes an incredibly wide range of interests. I myself primarily go there for the slim volumes of light Stoical prose and poems they have.

Search as I may, I was entirely unable to locate the copy of Snake World I had so idly perused and judged. The materials of the library are frequently purged for hygienic and topical reasons. I can only conclude that the magazine has either been thrown out, or is in the unlawful posession of another patron.

I would ask to find out but: no one talks to me.

yours truly,


Monday, August 17, 2009

Subscription to Evil

Some magazines are a moment of weakness; others a subscription to evil. To this day the one magazine that strikes me as the most evil, the most unredeemed and singularly depraved (and I once lived with Tom Ronca) is Snake World! Magazine.
On the outside it appears no more than another specialty magazine centered around a particular kind of pet and yet make no mistake, it is nothing more than a lurid and damning illustrated Sabbath with such things you are unlikely to see in a copy of Innocuous Fish World, (whose title doesn’t even have an exclamation point). Come with me and I will be your Virgil to it’s glossy and licentious depths and you will see that it is a magazine that one cannot browse lightly without peril to one’s soul any more than one can casually fingerbang one’s sister.

One’s first clue is the ads. In addition to the expected advertisements for supplements, enclosures, and snake power drinks, there are a large number of ads for leather goods, such as boots, belts, jackets, gloves, masks and whips. Even more tellingly, one finds many of the same advertisers for Soldier of Fortune magazine (the only other magazine I read besides Highlights for Children), particularly for bladed weapons and replica armorers.

Then we come to first article: the large spread of award-winning HERPESCAPES. These are basically large state of the art terrariums for your reptile, some of which are quite beautiful. My favorites include the “Tropical Chameleon Enclosure with Orchids,” “Southwestern Vista,” or the “Iraqi Police Interrogation.” A common theme for many of the terrariums is “giant reptile, tiny fleeing people” as depicted in “Sahara Fate” (which features a tiny crashed plane), “the Orphanage,” and “The Orgy of Thulsa Doom.” The centerpiece is, of course, “Paradise Lost” an enormous herpetological enclosure for multiple serpents that is designed to always be of an agreeable temperature with an invisible IR lamp, or as the caption puts it, “No light, but darkness visible.”

All the enclosures have some accommodation for the introduction of live prey, sometimes a small plank. “Prey” is a very important term of art for Snake World: it is important, the editors advise, to wash your hands before handling your snake, so as not to have the smell of prey. It is also important not to present oneself or one’s hand as prey. This demonstrates to me that there are basically three kinds of entity in Snake World: there is prey, there are snakes and predators, and there are the herpetophiles on the other other side of the great invisible barrier who smile their benediction at the predation of the one upon the other, and for this vicarious pleasure the whole arrangement of this universe exists. A more chilling and diabolical cosmology cannot be imagined, and certainly by no one who believes in a just and kind creator.

For this is easily the greatest clue that Snake World is not a magazine from within the confines of Christendom, the many graphic ads for live prey for reptiles. The usual representative animal is the white mouse, though at least one ad promises that “other creatures may also be special ordered,” suggesting that perhaps the company might be willing to provide more sporting or more entertaining game for one’s pet, such as blinded monkey with a razor, or a parrot that can describe what is happening to it. Nonetheless the ubiquitous white mouse is the symbol of innocence and delectation, featured presented by a white gloved butler on a silver tray, or its pink eyes looking heavenward as the coils of the serpent comfortably grasp it, or simply kneeling in an attitude of prayer and supplication with its family during its last moments.

Finally we come to the cover interview with Slash of Guns ‘n Roses. The interview reads pretty intelligibly for an exchange with a total degenerate, simply discussing Slash’s apparent love of snakes: the number he owns, if he ever took them on tour, how girls react, how his favorite really seems to enjoy his hydroponic grow lamp. The interview takes an unexpected turn to a darker angle from a very unexpected direction when the interviewer decides that other, more general and personal questions are somehow in his province as an interviewer for Snake World: When did the concept “god” die for you? How many girls have you deflowered? How many pregnant or menstruating women? Have you ever masturbated to your own image? To his credit, Slash does provide decent and acceptable answers to each of these questions.

Despite this solecism, the editorial policy of the magazine seems on the whole, largely sound, though many of the frequent quotes from Nietzsche are misused, following the article on pedophile rings needlessly lurid and graphic (and sourced how?) and it was never a good, sound or proper idea to give Glenn Danzig a column on relationships.

There are cartoons, and, in addition to snakes, one of the recurring themes seems to be the hypocrisy of the common priest, whose actions are often depicted as so vile as to imply that the cartoon somehow ended in this publication after it was univocally declined by Penthouse by way of Hustler.

Finally, there are the personal adverts on “Breeder’s Exchange.” To anyone familiar with the extreme culture of inverts and BDSM, there is nothing too original here, but the shocking thing is how many of the ads read more like extremely violent and graphic threats yelled at first time inmates as they first walk past the bars. Most common feature: “I/he/they like to watch.” Snakes and reptiles are not actually mentioned; I suppose their presence is just presumed.

So the next time you are in your dentist’s office, or casually looking in your neighbor’s mailbox, or under a friend’s mattress and find a rumpled copy of Snake World! realize you have seen the true mark of the beast and know that your dentist fears no just god and craves not forgiveness, and the hands in your mouth would as well strangle you if they could and have been places, places no just man cares to tread.

Monday, August 3, 2009

A Cowboy's Job is Loneliness

A cowboy’s job is loneliness. How can I assert this? I have just shot my best friend.

Also, the sheriff, others.

The prairie acts as giant telescope, so the cowboy can observe his subject. His subject: loneliness.

A cowboy eats only jerky, drinks only whiskey and campfire coffee, the latter keeps him up at night. He has his horse, his best friend, which takes him out on lonesome ways. He has a blanket and a saddle on which to sit on his best friend. He has a hat to shield his eyes from the sun he walks on, and to shield the world from his looking. These are the tools of his trade, his instruments of loneliness.

The Cowboy’s Options for Companionship Considered:


Plentiful. Playful. Effervescent pinwheels of the prairie. Yet their basic nature makes them unsuitable for long-term companionship. Like the sun and the sky and the moon and the long whistling wind, their presence accents, rather than relieves, the cowboy’s loneliness.


Not uncommon in the world of the cowboy, cactus appear to almost be hailing the cowboy in the long lonely distance, so cordial as to be virtually pressing their friendship upon him. Their arms seem to call out for an easy, comradely embrace, perhaps even support in the suggestion of a shoulder, a little prickly nook where the cowboy’s long nose-whistling sobs would be received not unkindly.

Yet, the embrace of the cactus surely brings trouble and pain; a cowboy is driven to it only at the ends of loneliness, in desperation when he can stand it no longer. He is rewarded with sore and hurt directly proportional to the intensity and duration of his involvement with the cactus.

This is how the cowboy views involvement with people generally.

Gopher Hole

Ubiquitous. Without the gopher, it’s just a damn hole. With the gopher, the gopher disappears, leaving the cowboy lonely.

Low Down Rattlesnake

Like the cowboy, seeking of needful shade by day, and warmth by night. Like the cowboy, strikes only out of fear and desperation. Like the cowboy, full of venom and totally unsuitable for companionship.

Best Friend

A cowboy’s best friend never deserts him, never gives out from under him. A cowboy’s best friend brings the path, the trail, the mountains and the endless prairies to him, unflinching, natural generosity, asking nothing in return outside a handful of sugar. A cowboy’s best friend is surer than his own footsteps, which weaken without the music of spurs; he is closer than his shadow, which stretches out and leaves him at dusk. A cowboy’s best friend is true.

Yet it is also true, I have shot my best friend. Also, the sheriff, others.


A cowboy’s options for friendship and companionship can be quite limited. He is a lonely professional in a lonely profession.

And yet, haven’t even I been seen, ridin’ into town with some small coin, whoopin’ it up, tossing back beers and singing songs with my fellows and even dancing with beautiful straw Sally? Yes I have. Every cowboy rides into town, when the howling of the wolves, the emptiness of the sky and the problematic aspects of the scorpion drive him there. He will drink a lot, become merry and even drag his inauspicious bones to dance with long tall Sally, who smiles at all the cowboys. He will then awake, broke, hurt, robbed and betrayed, with a burning inside his urethra like a million scorpions giving him his undivided attention, with a headache and no hat, a thirst as great as he is far away from any water. He will have shot his best friend. Also, the sheriff, others.

These are the sorts of experiences which only reinforce the cowboy’s patterns of loneliness.

Cowboys and Other Professions Considered

Lighthouse Keeper

True, the lighthouse keeper is a lonely sort. But when he does his job correctly, there are ships who need him and the brilliance of his lantern to keep him company. When he doesn’t there are shipwrecks and shipwreck survivors. Also, tourists love to come visit the lighthouse. Buzzards only visit the cowboy when he is already dead or dying. Dying of loneliness and complications from loneliness, such as exposure and gunshot wounds.

Coal Miner

Are you kidding? Though the mine is itself lonely and deep, miners never travel alone. They rarely die alone. Even if the whole thing collapses they have each other, the weight of the coal like a big heavy blanket and the sound of shovels from above to awaken them. They’ll rise to the surface, weak and blackened, but greeted by the cheers of a whole town, a crying wife and family. Cowboys think about dying in a mine to cheer themselves up while the coffee stirs in the belly of their brain and they watch the last embers die, knowing they won’t sleep at all.

Prisoner In Solitary Confinement

Has his crime. Also, if the prisoner could but escape his prison, he would be free. A cowboy’s prison is his freedom, which is unending. Also, the prisoner gets regular showers.

Many cowboy songs have lonesome words. But the loneliest cowboy songs have no words at all. They have no melody. There just a string of unbearable lonesome sounds that drift past the cowboy’s spittled lips as he drifts on the prairie, when he’s been gone so long he can’t even remember. Not even the cowboy hears his song; he’s so lonely, he’s forgotten he’s singing it. It just goes on by it’s own, like a radar echo. It’s about his best friend and how much he misses him.